Semantically Correct Query Answers in the Presence of Null Values

  • Loreto Bravo
  • Leopoldo Bertossi
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4254)


For several reasons a database may not satisfy a given set of integrity constraints (ICs), but most likely most of the information in it is still consistent with those ICs; and could be retrieved when queries are answered. Consistent answers to queries wrt a set of ICs have been characterized as answers that can be obtained from every possible minimally repaired consistent version of the original database. In this paper we consider databases that contain null values and are also repaired, if necessary, using null values. For this purpose, we propose first a precise semantics for IC satisfaction in a database with null values that is compatible with the way null values are treated in commercial database management systems. Next, a precise notion of repair is introduced that privileges the introduction of null values when repairing foreign key constraints, in such a way that these new values do not create an infinite cycle of new inconsistencies. Finally, we analyze how to specify this kind of repairs of a database that contains null values using disjunctive logic programs with stable model semantics.


Integrity Constraint Query Answer Database Instance Stable Model Semantic Disjunctive Logic Program 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Loreto Bravo
    • 1
  • Leopoldo Bertossi
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Computer ScienceCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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